The aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel has received EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) type certification for the battery-powered Velis Electro. The two-seater, intended primarily for pilot training, is the world’s first fully-electric airplane ever to receive type certification.
The Slovenian startup emphasized that the Velis Electro is constructed in such a way that it is easy to operate and maintain, without compromising safety. The aircraft is equipped with a Pipistrel E-811-268MVLC electric motor, whose power is 57.6 kW (77.2 hp). The engine was also certified by EASA, recently.
The DC motor is powered by a 345 V battery system consisting of two batteries connected in parallel with a total nominal capacity of 11 kWh. Both batteries are also equipped with a liquid cooling system. One battery is located in the bow of the aircraft, and the second behind the cockpit. This provides redundancy of the power source: in the event of a battery failure, the faulty battery is automatically disconnected from the system.
The revolutionary powertrain demonstrated the ability to withstand faults, battery thermal runaway events, and crash loads as part of the certification process.
The wingspan of Velis Electro is 10.7 m, length – 6.5 m; empty weight with batteries – 428 kg, maximum take-off weight – 600 kg, cruising speed – 90 knots, or 170 km/h and the maximum speed – 98 knots, or 181 km/h. The flight time for this electric airplane is up to 50 minutes. For transportation, this may not be enough, but as a training base – this is an excellent solution, friendly to the trainee.
“The type certification of the Pipistrel Velis Electro is the first step towards the commercial use of electric aircraft, which is needed to make emission-free aviation feasible. It is considerably quieter than other airplanes and produces no combustion gases at all,” said Mr. Ivo Boscarol, founder and CEO of Pipistrel Aircraft.
“It confirms and provides optimism, also to other electric aircraft designers, that the Type Certificate of electric engines and airplanes is possible. The engine, which Pipistrel type certified separately, is also available to other aircraft OEMs. For Pipistrel, this achievement injects additional motivation for the future eVTOL and multi‑seat hydrogen-powered projects. Pipistrel is especially thankful to all our customers for their confidence in our products, which allows us to continue developing these innovative aircraft,” he added.
Velis Electro certification took less than three years. EASA notes that the experience gained by the regulator as part of this work will be used for future certifications of other electric motors and aircraft. The manufacturer plans to supply 31 Velis Electro aircrafts to customers from seven different countries already in 2020.